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Darwin-L Message Log 5:198 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:198>From buchignani@hg.uleth.ca  Fri Jan 28 11:23:53 1994

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 08:19:34 MST
From: Norman Buchignani <buchignani@hg.uleth.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: history of adaptation

Marco Ferraguti appropriately notes Buffon's thesis of species
degeneration as a function of environment--a most sensitively felt
point among New World intellectuals. This of course was a theoretical
formulation of a long held folk notion of the degenerative potential
of environment when working on the human form. However, it seems
to me this is, if anything, a theory of maladaptation rather than
adaptation as Buffon couched his arguments (as per the Ferraguti quote;
see also his discussion of Inuit, etc.) in explicitly degenerationist
terms. The more general theory of environmental determinism around
since ancient times seems to me to include both positive adaptation
to the environment, as well as degeneration.

Norman Buchignani

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